At the Ranch: July 2018


July 2018

Not just a place of equestrian activities, but a place of learning and cultivation.


“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”

James Cash Penny

Every generation faces unique challenges. Every generation needs leaders to inspire greatness. But not everyone has the skills they need to lead in a changing, complex world. We wanted to help strengthen the next generation. So, Bell Mountain Ranch Equestrian Center (BMREC) began a new partnership to build them up.

The Ranch Hand Leadership Academy (RHLA) is a summer youth program, held at BMREC. The RHLA is part of Youth Leadership Opportunities, a Colorado non-profit organization providing teens and young adults with opportunities to build and practice personal leadership skills. Their programs apply this knowledge and these skills in a real-world setting.

The Ranch Hand Leadership Academy helps local youth learn more about themselves and their skills.  The RHLA program also provides leadership experiences and opportunities to Colorado youth. Each participant receives room to grow and develop their life skills and self-confidence.

RHLA teams up with our community to help young people learn responsibility and self-worth. Their students learn respect and compassion for others, including adults and their peers.

Every individual student faces leadership roles and challenges. These experiences afford opportunities for cooperation and collaboration. These leadership experiences also strengthen their ability to cooperate as a team member. Moreover, students learn about the skills of their teammates.

Each member begins by taking a personal preference assessment, designed by Emergenetics. Emergenetics is an assessment tool that asks people focused questions. Through their answers, we help people understand their work preferences, including:

  • What type of work will illuminate their spirits

  • How they can energize their mind, and

  • How they can go further in their personal and professional lives

For more information on Emergenetics, visit

After they understand their results, members spend a full day together. They focus on learning more about themselves and their teammates. They are also assigned a leadership role and given the freedom to work out how to complete their work tasks.

The team also creates rules and expectations for their work. They collaborate on efficient processes to do their job. Plus, they plan for resolving conflicts and problems that arise throughout the summer.

The RHLA teaches life skills to each of the team members, including but not limited to:

  • Intentional decision making,

  • Creating a high-performance team, and

  • Innovative problem-solving.

RHLA gives the youth team many projects to complete around the ranch. Projects range from trail renewal and upkeep to fixing the pens and stalls of the animals on the ranch.

Leadership is more than a mindset. Leaders apply the lessons of those that have come before as often as they blaze the trail forward. As part of the RHLA program, these teens people embracing the best leadership qualities. At the end of the summer, the team selects one leader who stood out throughout the program. This individual goes above and beyond their responsibilities. The youth team awards this person the John Bell Youth Leadership award for representing the best qualities RHLA nurtures. Named for one of the pioneers of the Bell Mountain Ranch area, recipients reflect the high ideals of the RHLA.

At summer's end, we also offer each student a certificate of completion, as a reflection of their hard work and growth.

At Youth Leadership Opportunities, we believe every person can lead. We empower our youth and young adults to find the leader in themselves.

Our Accomplishments with RHLA


Week 1: Leadership, Strategy, and Planning

The team met on Monday morning and asked, "What do we need to do in order to have a PERFECT work week?" From there, they took an Emergenetics approach to find out exactly what the perfect work week would look like. Read more ⟶

Week 2: Trail Grooming and Birthday Parties

This week the RHLA clipped 10 trails, along with many other upkeep projects for BMREC! And one member of the team had a birthday, so of course, there was a birthday party, and of course, there was cake! Read more ⟶


Week 3: Volunteer Efforts

This week, the RHLA didn't just work hard on the Ranch! They also went out to the larger community to do a service project. Meeting at BMREC at 4:30 on a Saturday morning is quite a feat for teenagers on its own, but doing an entire day of service on top of that is incredible! Read more ⟶

So far, the RHLA has been grooming the trails around BMREC and adding signs to the trails where they are needed. They have removed rocks from spots around the ranch that could cause injuries to the horses, cleaned up the hay barn, and they have even done a service program in downtown denver! To read more, check out this blog about the RHLA!

The RHLA program is dedicated to providing leadership experiences and opportunities to Colorado youth, offering them room to grow and develop their life skills and self-confidence. It is our hope as a community to help local youth learn both responsibility and self-worth, as well as respect and compassion for others in their community, including adults and their peers. The program provides each individual chances to take on leadership roles, which also leaves plenty of opportunities for cooperative and collaborative roles.

Events in July


IEA Team Camp

Summer Camp 2018

This session of camp is for riders who are interested in exploring the IEA Show Team.  Students must be entering Middle School through High School.  Riders must be able to Walk, Trot, and Canter on their own as well as be able to tack up their horse by themselves.

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Session 3

Summer Camp 2018

We will take five children brand-new to horses as well as five riders who can Walk and Trot on their own and who are learning how to canter. THis session is for riders between 8 and 11 years old.

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Monthly Boarder Trail Ride

Boarder-Only Event

This is our monthly trail ride for boarders! Megan will be hosting a trail ride for our boarders, on the 1st Saturday of every month, weather permitting.  Ride begins at 10 am on Saturday, July 7th.

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Horsemanship Club

Horsemanship Club, led by Megan, begins at 4pm on Saturday, July 14th.

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